Today I’m continuing my law school process experience series with my friend, Carina. Carina and I did a writing circle on campus when we both did a thesis for the English major, and after the writing circle we’d usually check in with each other about the law school process. We even took the October LSAT the same day, and Carina was laughing and had a great calming energy during the break. At Saint Mary’s, Carina runs cross country, is an English-Business Admin double major, is an Honors Program Commissioner, and is involved with the Honors Program. Basically, she does it all while maintaining an amazing GPA. I asked Carina to share her experience with all of you to give a different perspective on the application process. Carina got in to some amazing schools, and chose the one that was the best fit for her.
So, without further ado, here are Carina’s thoughts:
“My law school application experience was exciting yet stressful, fun yet daunting. The whole process actually starts with deciding when to take the LSAT (February, June, October, or December) and when to start studying for it. I began studying for the June LSAT in March. I decided to take BluePrint’s online class because it was more flexible than they’re in-person classes and it was cheaper. I really recommend BluePrint; their interactive videos and in-depth explanations to each question was very helpful. I was seeing major improvements in my scores throughout my months studying, but unfortunately didn’t test well in June. After receiving my June scores, I signed up for the October LSAT and took the summer off of studying. I began reviewing in early September and went into the LSAT feeling more confident and less stressed than in June. My calm approach helped boost my score to the level I had been getting on practice tests.
Once the LSAT was in the past, I could start focusing on personal statements and letters of recommendation. Each school I applied to had different requirements for numbers of letter of rec, but most allowed 2-3. While drafting my personal statement, I was advised by a friend to have someone who did not know me personally read it, to see if they got an idea of my ‘essence.’ Once my personal statement was clear and concise, I tweaked and personalized it for each of the schools I applied to.
Filling out (and paying for) the actual application was tedious. The LSAT itself costs you $170 and the CAS (Credential Assembly Service) is $175. This is sort of like the Common App used for the undergrad application process; one website or ‘service’ that sends out your application to each school. However, some schools tack on an extra fee from $30-$100 depending on the institution. Thus, by the end of the process, I probably spent around $1500 on the whole process, from the BluePrint LSAT prep course, to paying for the LSAT, CAS, and each individual application.
After I submitted my nine applications in late November, I waited. I was accepted into one school the next day! But most of the other schools got back to me in mid-January. I was mostly debating between UC Davis and UC Irvine, since they are comparable in rank, both in California (which I knew I wanted to stay), and in price. I highly encourage you to actually visit the schools to get that ‘gut feeling’ about them that you cannot just get from looking at their website. That’s the reason I chose UC Davis; I felt comfortable there. At first, I was worried I wasn’t challenging myself enough by moving far away or making a big change, but my friends and family reminded me that choosing a school that felt comfortable might not be the worst thing in the world. In fact, 1L year is going to be challenging and ‘uncomfortable’ enough that I don’t need to push myself in that way if I didn’t want to.
Overall, I can say that I am glad this process is complete and am looking forward to the experiences I will have in law school!”
Thank you, Carina! Best of luck during your 3 years at UC Davis!